Friday, April 1, 2011

My Top 10 Most Odd, Interesting, Unique and Amusing Massage Experiences, Part 2.

And now, as promised in my last blog post, without further ado, here is the second half of my “Top 10 Most Odd, Interesting, Unique and Amusing Massage Experiences.”
The master bedroom at the Putrajaya Shangri-la Hotel.
Read about it in a previous blog post.
6. The Reiki Massage.  
Years ago while vacationing in Jasper National ark Alberta, Canada, I went looking for a place to have a massage. As this was in the days before spas took off in popularity, there was no spa, per se, in the town of Jasper. However, by asking some questions, I was able to find out where I could get a massage.
The massage therapist turned out to be a practitioner of reiki as well as massage, and she combined the two elements in her treatment.
She started off with a very nice massage; but here’s where it gets a bit weird (in a good way).
I’m lying on my stomach, and she placed her right index finger into the centre of the palm of my right hand. She then placed her left index finger into the middle of the sole of my right foot. I can feel an energy surge that seems to join the two points together. It’s kind of cool.
She then removed her hands and walks over to the other side of the massage table to start working on my left side. But I could still feel her fingers – or something – touching my right hand and foot, joining them with an energy between those two points, even though she’s not in physical contact with them.
It’s weird, but in kind of a cool way. Rather than worry about it, I just relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the massage.
Oh, and after the massage, she introduced me to the concept and use of rune stones for divination purposes. Bought a set in a New Age store later that week, and I still use them today.
7. The “Feel-my-belly” Massage
Kind of a nice experience, although it did strike me as a bit off-the-wall when it happened.
I’m lying on the massage table, waiting for the start of a massage from an RMT I’d been going to for about two years. At this time, she was very pregnant with her first baby, well into her second trimester. She was just getting ready to start the massage, when all of a sudden, she blurts out, “Oh, he’s kicking!” grabs my hand and sticks it on her belly. “Can you feel him?” she says.
Ah, yeah. I could.
“Isn’t it cool?” she asks, then after about a minute lets go of my hand.
Although it was not really part of the massage, it was a different kind of experience. I was actually quite flattered that she thought enough of me, trusted me enough to share that moment. I’d never had my hand on a pregnant woman’s belly before, so it was a first. I just never thought that particular first would be under those circumstances…
8. The Congo Lover Massage
While staying in the Cayman Islands, I had a massage from a woman who, as it turns out, was originally from Kenya. During the massage, while we talked, I found out that when she lived there, she’d had a few African grey parrots as pets (as do I – but you probably figured that out already, given the title of this blog!) She taught me how to say parrot in Swahili: Kasuku.
Nothing weird, nothing amusing, but kind of neat.
9. The Wet Massage
A rather forgettable massage, but remembered simply due to its lacklustre nature.
I had this massage while staying on Tenerife in the Canary Islands at the host hotel for the 2006 Seventh International Parrot Convention, co-hosted by Loro Parque.
The spa offered me a choice of regular Swedish or deep-tissue massage when I booked it. I like a fairly deep massage, but not rolfing-deep, so I booked the “regular” pressure massage. Mistake #1.
The spa also has several water treatments, including a steam room, a Jacuzzi, a sauna, a cold room and a cold bath. I thought I might as well enjoy those and get really relaxed before my massage. Mistake #2.
When I went for my massage, all I had to wear was my bathing suit. Now, I’m used to getting all my massages in the buff, albeit with 90 per cent of my body covered with a sheet. However, this spa therapist (not an RMT, and with a poor command of English) indicated she did not want me to strip down completely. So, I had to climb onto the massage table in a wet bathing suit. Yuck!
Then she proceeded to give me what I felt was a really lame massage. When I asked for more pressure, she said, “No, you did not book a deep-tissue massage.”
It was a sub-optimal experience. The lesson here is, always book a deep-tissue massage when  spa gives you the option (usually those that do, do not have RMT’s on staff, so it’s a way of charging more; an RMT always costs more than a CMT or spa therapist). If the massage gets too deep, at least you can the therapist to back off on the pressure a bit. But  many spas will not provide deeper pressure if you don’t book a deep-tissue massage.
Also, bring something to wear besides a wet bathing suit ...
10. The Moroccan Massage.
Not odd, not really amusing, but definitely unique. I spent an afternoon enjoying a couples massage at a spa in Vancouver that specializes in Hammam and Gommage massage as part of the package. Essentially, you and your partner start off in a big steam room to get nice and relaxed and warm. Then an employee comes in to give you an exfoliating body rub.
This part caught me off guard, a bit. We’re both completely naked, the woman giving the exfoliation is not. No one told me about this in advance, so I felt a little strange, with my wife sitting there after her exfoliation, watching a strange woman rub stuff all over my body with everything – and I mean EVERYTHING hanging out. No towel was offered, so it jarred me a bit. I rolled with it. Ditto, when she was done, and she had me stand up so she could hose me off.
Then it was back on with the robe, out for a really nice, 60-minute private full body massage (where I was covered by a sheet) followed by a half-hour of relaxation in a private booth with mint tea and Moroccan cakes.
Would I do it again? You bet. If I ever do, at least I won’t be too surprised by the exfoliation.
So there you have it. Will I ever be able to add to this list of 10? More than likely, as I'm off to Thailand in a few days and I certainly plan to enjoy a Thai massage or two while I'm over there. And I'm bound to encounter more funny/odd/amusing weird massage experiences during my travels around the world.
Stay tuned, as they say in TV land ...

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